Tag Archives: bawley

Gotty and the Guv’nor

Gotty and the guv’nor: a true narrative of Gotty’s doings ashore & afloat, with an account of his voyage of discovery on a shrimping bawley in the English channel

There are many smiles and a few laughs in this daft old book published in 1907 – though it might reasonably be subtitled ‘a true collection of the sorts of stories waterside blokes are apt to tell even today’.

Read a writerly little piece about the author, novelist Arthur E Arthur Copping, here.

My thanks to Nigel who runs the the Bexley London Borough Blog for leading me to this one!

PS – I gather from Dick Johnson (see comments below) that there’s another Gotty book Gotty in Furren Parts, but I’ve been unable to find an archive link, and it does seem to be pretty scarce… Shame!

Woodbridge: a dockside stroll in photos


Woodbridge from along the estuary

Woodbridge from the head of the estuary. Click on the thumbnails for much bigger photos

Woodbridge mill Woodbridge mill from a distance

Woodbridge tide mill

Woodbridge motor cruisers Woodbridge liveaboard Woodbridge liveaboard 3

Woodbridge liveaboard 2 converted lifeboat

Liveaboards at Woodbridge

Woodbridge outstanding shed Everson's Woodbridge cruising club wind vane Woodbridge Deben Yacht Club wind vane

Eversons’ splendid sheds; wind vanes belonging to Woodbridge Cruising Club and the Deben Yacht Club

Woodbridge Arwen Woodbridge Arwen 2 Woodbridge Arwen 3

The intriguing and delightful Arwen

Woodbridge motor boat

A very sweet little motorboat

Woodbridge Lowestoft smack LO136 Woodbridge Bawley LO136 2

Bawley Good Intent, with a London port designation

Woodbridge interesting small yacht Woodbridge pretty small yacht Woodbridge yacht 2

Woodbridge dinghies

Pretty yachts and picturesque dinghies

Woodbridge wall detail 2 Woodbridge wall detail 1

Wall details from the old quayside, which is now set well back from the river

Idle Duck is back on the water


alan staley , bawley , bob telford , Faversham , idle duck , maurice griffiths , scoter

alan staley , bawley , bob telford , Faversham , idle duck , maurice griffiths , scoter

Idle Duck is back on the water and looking good, as these photos from a week and a half ago show.

The bawley-derived Maurice Griffiths-designed boat (use the search to find posts about both Idle Duck and Scoter) has been now in the hands of my friend Bob Telford for a couple of years now, and after a couple of seasons’ hard work repairing decks and bulwarks at Alan Staley’s yard at Faversham, she’s looking very smart in her fresh paint.

The view from Idle Duck’s cockpit

alan staley , bawley , bob telford , Faversham , idle duck , maurice griffiths , scoter

More old photos of Scoter


scoter, Count de la Chapelle, idle duck, bawley, lynher, maurice griffiths, wildfowling

scoter, Count de la Chapelle, idle duck, bawley, lynher, maurice griffiths, wildfowling scoter, Count de la Chapelle, idle duck, bawley, lynher, maurice griffiths, wildfowling scoter, Count de la Chapelle, idle duck, bawley, lynher, maurice griffiths, wildfowling

Doug Grierson has sent in some more old photographs that will no doubt delight the large numbers of people who have been following the Scoter story. Thanks Doug!

For more on this famous old bawley-derived yacht that was so admired by Maurice Griffiths and which passed through a long line of owners including artist Colin Grierson and son Doug, click here.

The first image is from a postcard sent by an earlier owner of Scoter to a recipient in Essex in 1907; Doug doesn’t know how or when it was passed to his mother.

The two photos of Scoter from 1994-5 at Woodbridge and Maldon show later coach roof and original windlass and circular fore-hatch; the final item is a scanned image of a water-colour by Colin Grierson dated 1932 showing the rig she had when he bought her in late 1930.


1934 bawley for sale at Chelmsford

1970 Uffa Fox Firefly dinghy for sale at Fareham

1966 clinker-built Kestrel sailing cruiser for sale at Gosport

1934 34ft bawley for sale at Chelmsford

1939 27ft Swedish double-ended sailing cruiser for sale in Mallorca

1962 21ft Riva Super Florida for sale in Hertfordshire

28ft wooden cabin cruiser for sale at Blackpool, Lancashire

Houseboat on residential mooring in central London

A little in love with a bawley

Bawley Vivid

Bawley Vivid Bawley Vivid Bawley Vivid

Bawley Vivid

Bawley Vivid, built in 1860

A friend of mine is secretly a little in love with someone else’s boat. His own is a sweet and well cared-for craft, but some small part of his tortured heart lies elsewhere, and his heart lifts as he sees the other object of his desires making way down the creek.

I won’t mention too many names to protect those who may already feel just a little guilty, but from looking at these photos you might just begin to see why he feels this way. I know I do, and I hope her owner won’t mind my sharing them with http://intheboatshed.net readers!

The boat in question is Vivid, and she’s certainly a very sweet small bawley at just 24ft. According to a page on the Old Gaffer’s Association site she dates back to 1860, which in itself is enough to make her special indeed.

Bawleys were built mainly for shrimping, and have a characteristic tall cutter rig with no boom. The lack of a boom means that their mainsails are reefed quickly using handy brailing lines, but together with a rounded hull form it also means that the boats aren’t so hot to windward. I’d guess that bawley sailors who belong to racing associations such as the OGA have to learn a certain serenity in the face of coming last almost every time they go out – but there must be a strong sense of satisfaction in sailing a boat as important, interesting and handsome as this one.

It’s not very easy to find sources of more information about bawleys, but there’s a good section on them in The Chatham Directory of Inshore Craft, and a few mentions in both Mike Smylie’s Traditional Fishing Boats of Britain and Ireland, and Eric McKee’s Working Boats of Britain.

And Derek Coombe’s The Bawleymen has a lot to say about how the boats were used and the lives of their crews – if you can find it.

PS I’ve learned from a forum that there is a very fast bawley called the Helen & Violet. I don’t claim to know everything, but I try to report the best of what I learn. Anyway, Googling reveals this Googlewhack including links to photos and this excerpt from John Leather’s classic The Gaff Rig Handbook. This is very useful – I’ve mislaid my copy after moving house just a few weeks ago – but what does it mean for the future of book publishing?

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